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Advice On Going to College With Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Tips And Ideas From Those Who Have Gone To College With IBD

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Updated January 27, 2014

Shepard Hall at City College of New York

When you're on campus, you might want to take some of the advice that these veterans of IBD have to offer.

Photo © Rick Shupper

I asked IBD/Crohn's Disease forum members to tell me their tips for coping with difficulties at school. I saw responses from those who have been living with gastrointestinal problems for a while, and those who are newly diagnosed. Thanks for all the great advice and ideas! I've collected a few of them below.

DRCDC has two tips to share:

  1. "Find out if there is an IBS/IBD group on campus and attend."
  2. "Once diagnosed - get a "doctor's note" - that can be presented to teachers or others if necessary. Try going to psychological counseling, or the office of student's with disabilities with that note and see if you can get help for those periods when stress hits (tests!) and may cause your system to go haywire."

SOFIJA3 is obviously very proactive, and she has some great tips for talking with school officials and professors:

"I took copies of some of my medical records that showed a diagnosis of Crohn's disease into the DSR and got myself on their records. What that does is: Each semester they give me letters for my teachers. I sat down with the DSR counselor and we outlined what accommodations were needed for my illness, and those are included in the letter.

"This tells the teachers that it is a serious case and they are required by the school to provide those accommodations. For me they are: that I can sit near the exit and will get up and leave the classroom at any time, including during tests. That if the test will be short and a time loss would be a problem, I can take it at the campus testing center, and will be allowed twice the normal amount of time for the test.

"Every teacher I've talked to about it has been completely understanding and accommodating, and has given me the choice of taking tests in the class or testing center, and has never given me a problem about leaving the classroom when needed.

"I also use a tape recorder in class, so that if I do have to duck out, I won't miss important information."

We've all had those times when there wasn't a bathroom close enough! CHERLENEW has a practical idea for dealing with these situations:

"As gross as this may sound, if you are on a large campus, carrying an extra pair of underwear and some sort of soft tissue/toilet paper or damp cloth is helpful. Just put everything in a Ziploc bag and toss it in the bottom of your backpack or book bag. If you don't need them, it takes up little room, but believe me, if you need them you'll be glad to have them."

And as the last word, ICANSEEYOU echoes a sentiment that we can all relate to:

"I was just thinking the other day that if we (people in our society) weren't so closed minded and disgusted by our bodily functions, I would probably be OK. Imagine not having to worry about being embarrassed because it would be OK..."

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